Florida native and long-time assemblage artist, Susan Harb, made her second appearance in 7 years in the Ann White Academy Gallery during First Fridays on January 8, 2021.
“I think back to where I grew up in a small town in central Florida with less than one thousand people,” said Harb. “With not much to do around town or at our home, I had to find ways to entertain myself or keep busy.”
“My mother would always tell me, ‘Go find something to do outside’ or ‘I’m not raising any house plants’, which encouraged me even more to find something to do, anything to do.” So, Susan often found herself at her father’s welding shop.
“I would sweep the shop, wash cars, pretty much did whatever I could get my hands on. Time in my fathers’ welding shop greatly impacted my passion to build the pieces I create today.”
Although Susan developed a love for ‘doing’ early in life, it wasn’t until many years later where a trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, sent her career as an artist soaring.
“Fifteen years ago I went with a group of artists to San Miguel de Allende for an artists retreat for two weeks. I found myself feeling like a little girl again, looking for something to do during my stay while my friends were busy.” To bide time, Susan started picking up random items she found all throughout San Miguel and assembled the pieces using fruit boxes as the base.
After returning from the trip, Susan decided to share her unique assemblage boxes by placing them in local coffee shops. “It wasn’t long before people asked to buy my fruit boxes and then asked me to create custom pieces and here we are fifteen years later.”
Susan’s work in her First Fridays exhibit contains a wide variety of assemblage pieces, including custom furniture, functional pieces, or pieces that are just plain enjoyable to look at.
When talking about her piece “Constellation Wall” (pictured above), Susan said, “I found this round piece on the side of the road where people illegally dump their trash over the hillside and when it, my heart stopped. qaI knew when I saw it that this piece would be a sun or moon rising over my Blue Ridge Mountains, the bottom piece to “Constellation Wall” I found just 5 years earlier.”
Many of Susan’s pieces have an industrial look or rustic feel to them. “I like rust. You can slightly alter it and it’s still beautiful. You can spray rust with a clear coat or sand it a little and it makes the orange in rust pop.”
See Susan Harb’s exhibit in the Ann White Academy Gallery Monday – Friday from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, or by making an appointment with Ted Batt, Director of Visual Arts, at [email protected]